Google’s September 2023 Helpful Content Update: What You Need To Know About?

Yogesh Pant
Sep 20, 2023

On September 14, Google rolled out its crucial “September 2023 Helpful Content Update.” The last content update was rolled out in December 2022. While many are expecting this update will have much focus on algorithm updates, there is nothing specific about it yet. 

As with other updates, small improvements and tweaks will also take place. The update is expected to finish rolling out in the next two weeks. Whenever Google rolls out a new update, most site owners relate it to their search engine ranking fluctuations. However, it can be more than that - probably due to changes from your competitors. 

That being said, we don’t expect much change in this update. Still, it is worth knowing. So, let’s start!

Google's Helpful Content Update 2023

Google’s Helpful Content Update: What Is It? 

Google’s helpful content update is a way of rewarding content that is useful and relevant to users, not just for ranking top on search engines. It was launched about a year ago, and it aims to filter out content that is low-quality, spammy, or misleading.

Some examples of content that Google’s helpful content update targets are:

  • Content that is stuffed with keywords that do not match the topic or the intent of the user.
  • Content that has click-bait headlines that promise something that the content does not deliver.
  • Content that is too long, repetitive, or off-topic, and does not provide any value or information to the user.

Google’s helpful content update is based on various factors, such as the quality, authority, and trustworthiness of the content, the website, and the author. It also considers user feedback, such as the click-through rate, the bounce rate, and the dwell time.

The content update is not a one-time event, but a continuous process that evaluates and ranks content according to its helpfulness and relevance. Therefore, content creators should always focus on creating high-quality content that meets the needs and expectations of their audience.

What Google’s September 2023 Helpful Content Update Is Targeting? 

The new Google content update will continue to work as its previous counterparts, rewarding useful and relevant content. It prioritizes showing the content that is written by a human and helps solve users' queries, rather than the content that is written solely with the intention of ranking in the search engines. 

The new update will have three major changes that are quite interesting. Here’s a detailed information: 

Added new points about changing dates 

Google has added a few additions to its helpful content guidelines: 

  • Do you change the dates of the pages without making substantial changes to the content to make them seem fresh? 
  • Do you remove a lot of old content and add new ones to help your search engines believe your site’s content is fresh? 

We are glad to hear that Google is taking action against this issue. It’s not fair that some people can manipulate the date of an article and trick the system, but it still works occasionally in 2023. This update is a good step towards improving the quality and relevance of online content.

Clarification on AI content 

The new update seems to be suggesting that it is okay to use machine-generated content if it is helpful and relevant to the user’s query. In the new guideline, Google has replaced the phrase - “written by people” with “helpful content created for people in search results.” The changes in the guidelines have hinted at the use of AI in content creation. 

Old Guideline

“Google Search’s helpful content system generates a signal used by our automated ranking systems to better ensure people see original, helpful content written by people, for people, in search results.”

New Guideline

“Google Search’s helpful content system generates a signal used by our automated ranking systems to better ensure people see original, helpful content created for people in search results.”

We agree that having a subject expert is more likely to result in helpful, accurate, and insightful content than using AI, but AI can still be useful in some situations. For example, AI can help with generating content faster, finding relevant information, or adding some creativity. But AI cannot replace the human touch and the deep knowledge that a subject expert has.

Third-party Content

Google has updated its guidelines on how to deal with third-party content on your site.

The new guidelines say:

“If you have content from other sources on your main site or your subdomains, you should know that this content may affect how we evaluate your site, such as the helpfulness of content. Therefore, if that content is not related to your site’s purpose or is not created with your supervision or involvement, we suggest that you should prevent Google from indexing it.

Conclusion - What Does This Mean for Your Content Strategy?

You don’t need to worry too much about this update. It will take some time to fully roll out, so don’t jump to any conclusions too soon. These are not major changes and they are meant to reward high-quality content, so if you are doing the right things, you should be fine.

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